This half Persian household always seems to have a few blocks of Bulgarian or French feta cheese in the refrigerator at various stages of their culinary ‘lifetimes’. Feta is actually a breakfast food for Iranians. Quite delicious with a piece of warm sangak flat-bread and sweet cardamom infused tea. Although it isn’t really what anyone would call a full breakfast, it is just enough to get you to an early lunch. You could say it is the Persian equivalent of a Continental breakfast.
Nevertheless, we usually have several containers in the fridge. Persians are quite artful when it comes to this cheese. They are in tune with its subtleties in ways we can’t imagine. They can practically smell its age and freshness, discerning not only between various brands but also those brands’ batches. As the cheese gets older it reacts more with the brine and its solids actually ‘dry out’ giving it more crumble. When it gets to this stage I try to use it in salads to make room for my man to start using the new stuff “on deck” for his breakfasts. This was the case last week when I was seeking to clean out the refrigerator while at the same time throw a dinner party. This dish also called for one of the lemons gifted to us earlier in the week and for which I was seeking ways not to waste. Two birds with one dish.
To trim the asparagus just snap off the woody ends and the stalk will break where it is supposed to. I never trim asparagus with a peeler. This kind of grilled salad can be done well with many veggies. Tonight I’ll try it out with zucchini — cutting it in half lengthwise to grill, and then halved again afterward. Great minds must think alike as Ms. Barrister sent me this recipe last week thinking I would like it. Whats not to like? The residual olive oil from the grilling is all you need here so there is no need to add any more when assembling the salad. I prefer this to the extra unnecessary step of making a separate vinaigrette Use lemon zest from a small grater so that it distributes well. Grill an onion and throw it in there too if you want. What are you waiting for?
Roasted Asparagus and Feta Salad
This is what you will need:
- 1 bunch thick asparagus, about 24 spears
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ? cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
This is how you make it:
- Put your clean grill to high and put asparagus spears in baking dish.
- Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Put asparagus on the grill, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until asparagus spears are nicely browned and tender but still retain some ‘starch’.
- Remove asparagus from grill and place back into the dish you brought them to the grill in (Remember, that residual oil!)
- Let cool and then cut into 1½” pieces.
- Place cut asparagus back in dish and add remaining ingredients and toss gently.
- Season to taste. Good room temperature or cold.